Check out these picture books to explore the theme “When I Grow Up” with kids ages 4-8. BookSpring volunteer Donovan Archer reviewed these books. Subscribe for more Children’s Books Reviews.
I Used to Be the Baby By Robin Ballard
“I used to be the baby, but now I am big.” So begins this story of a not-so-very-big sibling who suddenly finds himself with a baby brother. “I Used to be the Baby” by Robin Ballard is a good book for young children who are or will soon become big brothers or sisters.
Written for early readers, aged 4-8, the main character, a soon-to-be big brother, talks about sharing with his baby, but he also laments that sometimes he still likes to be the baby too.
The language in the book is simple, and the illustrations sweet and straightforward. This book provides a lot of opportunity for soon-to-be or new big siblings to plan for how they will help their new sister or brother be a valued person in the family while also allowing the soon-to-be sibling to talk about their feelings and express their needs when a baby comes.
The best thing that a family can do to help an older sibling grow into a big brother or sister is to help them plan for their new role. This book has lots of conversation starters, and I think it would be great to take one question a day and explore it as a family. Then the family can brainstorm ways to make that very thing a special experience for a new baby.
You’ll enjoy this book as a family to bring everyone closer to prepare for a baby and ensure everyone knows that they are loved.
When I Grow Up By Andrew Daddo
What do you want to be when you grow up? A performer? An astronaut? A secret agent? “When I Grow Up” is a fun picture book shining a light on endless dreams and possibilities. This book is good for kids aged 3 and up and, because of its focus on the future, it is actually good for all kinds of kids.
It explores the infinite possibilities that await children when they grow up and become working professionals. It gives the nod to all the big dreams that we all have as kids while clearly demonstrating that anything is possible for everyone, no matter race, gender, or color. Your imagination can take you anywhere. Kids can see themselves in others, and having this kind of discussion is important for families.
Tad By Benji Davies
It’s a heartwarming, coming of age type story of how a tiny tadpole finally finds her frog legs. A tale of courage and growth in which Tad, “the smallest almost-a-frog in the whole wide pond,” wriggles “twice as fast just to keep up” with her siblings.
She stays a tiny tadpole as she watches her tad siblings grow legs and lose their tails, gain confidence and swim to other parts of the pond when they outgrow the nest. One by one, they all go and leave her all alone. It’s then that Big Blub shows up! Intimidating and threatening. How will Tad respond? You’ll have to read this charming book to see how Tad learns to be bigger than her fears.
A great way for families to share this book is to talk about the story. How does your child think Tad feels – at the beginning of the story and the end? Share favorite illustrations and talk about why you chose them. Count tadpoles with Tad. What made Tad worry about her tad brothers and tad sisters?
Book Related Activities
- Use the conversation starters listed in the book to explore what it will mean to be a big brother or sister.
- A great activity for families would be for parents, grandparents, and family friends to talk about who they wanted to be when they were young and how they became who they are today.
- Another way for families to explore the theme in this book would be for kids to choose one profession that they would like to be in, and parents then help them explore more about that profession.
- If you’re looking for other activities, the publisher Harper Collins has quite a few, along with a link to a read-aloud here.